A guide to buying your first property

Is there ever a best time to get on the property ladder with your first home? Strangely enough, if you can fight your way through the regulations that now apply to getting a first mortgage, and can raise a deposit, now is as good a time as any to take that step.

Though it may appear from the media that house prices are inexorably going up, there are plenty of good opportunities to get your start. House price averages tend to get inflated because of the London effect, and though there are a number of other areas where property can seem expensive, the Shrewsbury area does not appear to be as overheated as other parts of the country. Although prices for houses sold in 2014 rose by 4% on the previous year, they were similar to prices in 2007.

With terraced properties selling for an average of £166,486 and semi-detached homes for an average of £183,244, there are plenty of opportunities to buy on the cheaper side to get on that first rung of the ladder.

Getting a mortgage

It's an exciting time when you're planning to buy your first property, but it can be quite intimidating as well, if you haven't had to deal with mortgage lenders before. Since the credit crunch, lenders have had to toughen their criteria for borrowers; you need to know how to deal with your finances so you stand the best possible chance of being offered a loan.

Lenders are different

The lenders in the finance world may all seem the same to you, but lenders have different criteria. If your financial status fits then you may get an offer, if not then you're likely to be rejected.

They'll judge you on:

  • How much money you want to borrow.
  • How much deposit you plan to put down.
  • The status of your employment and your income level.
  • How good (or bad) your credit rating is.
  • Your outgoings and existing debts.

Even if you pass every test they set, a lender doesn't have to lend to you, but if you really get your financial affairs in order you'll have a much better chance.

A few tips to improve your chances

  1. Check out your credit score. A lender will check, so you need to be sure that you have a good repayment history for everything, including credit cards, overdrafts and loans. If you think there's an error, get it corrected quickly.
  2. Get on the electoral roll. Lenders will identity check you and if you're not on it, you're unlikely to be accepted for a mortgage.
  3. Compare mortgages. Always search for the best deal available. There are many out there for first time buyers.
  4. Make the deposit as high as you can. Lenders like this show of intent. A minimum deposit is fine, but you'll just be paying more money in interest charges so save up as much as you can.

Buying a first property may be fraught with difficulties, but when everything comes through and you put your key in the front door lock, you'll know you've achieved something special.

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Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on petejwhite.com

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